Athletics

Reddick finally gets a taste of his own medicine

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Reddick finally gets a taste of his own medicine

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's have won eight games in walk-off fashion this season. That is a lot of forcibly administered whipped cream pies and water cooler showers. When the walk-off hero experiences the sweet taste of victory via a pie smash to the face, it is always Josh Reddick on the other end of the plate.As a result, Reddick knew he was doomed when he launched a game-ending double in the 13th inning to beat the Mariners 2-1."I don't mind it. I can dish it and I can take it," Reddick said after a long shower. "I was just happy it was me for once. It feels good to be on the receiving end."Well, what goes around comes around. Reddick was nailed with two coolers of iced liquid and two whipped cream pies. One pie came courtesy of Kurt Suzuki, the other from Jemile Weeks, who scored the game winning run on Reddick's double. "We couldn't wait," Weeks said. "He deserved it, he deserved everything." Reddick was lucky he wasn't eaten alive by seagulls after being made to look like a dessert item in the post game celebration. As the game lingered on into the late afternoon, more and more seagulls started circling and dive bombing at the Oakland Coliseum. With the sun, cloudless sky, and birds everywhere, it got so bad that it was actually hard for players to see balls hit into the air. "Oh, you could see them," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was like the movie The Birds.""You've got the white baseballs with the white seagulls out there, you have to distinguish between the two sometimes with the sun," Weeks said. "At the end of the day we fought through the seagulls and made it happen." The A's first run was driven in by Yoenis Cespedes in the first inning. He then stole second base, spraining his left thumb. Cespedes was taken out of the game prior to the fourth inning. According to Melvin, the A's medical staff thinks the All-Star break will be enough time for his thumb to heal. As of now, a return to the disabled list for Cespedes doesn't appear likely."He is literally day to day," Melvin said. "I'm not really sure how he is going to feel tomorrow. He is going to have four days off and hopefully he is good to go." The A's wouldn't have been in a position to win if it wasn't for an efficient performance from Bartolo Colon. The veteran right-handed pitcher threw 93 pitches -- just 14 balls -- in 8.2 innings of work. He threw a first-pitch strike to 32 of the 34 batters he faced. He walked no one, and allowing one earned run. "It was difficult to take him out of the game emotionally," Melvin said. "He pitched so well and wanted it so bad. He gave us everything we could possibly expect. He never ceases to amaze. He is a pretty remarkable guy."Colon out-dueled Mariners' ace Felix Hernandez, who lasted 7.2 innings with one earned run. When the game was handed over to the bullpens, the A's had the advantage. A combination of Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Grant Balfour, and Jordan Norberto threw 4.1 innings of two-hit ball. The collection of pitchers struck out five batters and walked no one. The A's pitching staff went 13 innings without issuing a walk, the first time that has happened in Athletics history since 1927. At 43-43 the A's enter the All-Star break with a .500 record for the first time since 2008. They are just 2.5 games back in the American League Wild Card standings. They are 16-10 in games decided in the seventh inning or later. "We're a lot more battle tested," Melvin said. "I think we expect to play games like that."

A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th

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USATI

A's blow it again in ninth, swept on walk-off grand slam in 10th

BOX SCORE

TORONTO  — Steve Pearce became the latest Blue Jay to hit a game-ending home run.

Pearce hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the 10th inning and Toronto beat the Oakland Athletics 8-4 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.

"Hopefully we just keep the ball rolling," Pearce said. "We're getting down to the end of the season so we've got to step it up and this was a great series to get it started."

Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks (3-2) walked the bases loaded with two outs before Pearce hooked a 3-2 pitch down the left field line and into the second deck. The grand slam was the second of his career and first since May 2015.

The Blue Jays won consecutive games on home runs for the first time in team history.

Kendrys Morales, who hit a game-winning homer in the ninth inning Wednesday, had two more home runs Thursday. Morales connected off Sean Manaea in the fifth and added a tying blast off Blake Treinen in the ninth, the 19th multihomer game of his career.

Treinen got the ninth in place of Santiago Casilla, who blew Wednesday's game. The Athletics have blown five of their past six save opportunities.

"We're just having trouble finishing off games," manager Bob Melvin said.

Toronto has hit four game-ending home runs this season, the third-highest total in team history. They hit six in 2011.

Josh Donaldson also homered for Toronto, a solo blast in the first.

Roberto Osuna (3-0) worked one inning for the win.

Marcus Semien had three hits and a walk for the Athletics, who have lost 12 of 13 in Toronto.

In the fifth, one batter after Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing ball and strikes with home plate umpire Will Little, Stroman and catcher Russell Martin were both tossed. An irate Stroman charged toward home plate to confront Little, and had to be restrained by Martin and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

Right-hander Chris Smith replaced Stroman and Miguel Montero took over for Martin.

Stroman allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking a season-high six. Asked about the ejection afterward, he had little to say.

"When it comes to umpires or any of that, I'm not going to be making any comments about that," Stroman said. "I want to make my next start."

Oakland struck quickly against Stroman, scoring three runs in the first against a pitcher who had allowed just four earned runs combined in his previous four July starts. Ryon Healy drove in a run with a groundout and Bruce Maxwell followed with a two-run single.

Donaldson replied with a one-out blast in the bottom half, his 10th, and Morales connected to begin the fifth, his 19th.

Toronto tied it in the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored on Justin Smoak's two-out single.

Troy Tulowitzki tried to score from second on Darwin Barney's two-out single in the seventh, but was thrown out at home plate by a strong throw from right fielder Matt Joyce.

Manaea allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

"It kind of stings a little bit," Manaea said. "We had an opportunity to win and just didn't put it together."

Oakland broke a 3-all tie against Ryan Tepera in the eighth when Semien's two-out single scored Jaycob Brugman, but Morales answered in the ninth.

GETTING THE AX

Oakland RHP John Axford, the NL saves leader in 2011, was designated for assignment. Melvin said it was tough to cut Axford, citing his veteran presence in the clubhouse. Axford went 0-1 with no saves and a 6.43 ERA in 22 appearances.

WORST IN THE FIRST

Blue Jays pitchers have an AL-worst 6.35 ERA in the first inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: C Josh Phegley (left oblique) was placed on the 10-day DL and C Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP Ryan Dull (right knee) was activated off the DL, taking Axford's spot on the roster.

Blue Jays: Quality control coach Derek Shelton replaced first base coach Tim Leiper (illness) midway through the game.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (2-5, 5.40) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Minnesota. Gossett has allowed at least one homer in seven of his first eight starts. Newly acquired LHP Jaime Garcia (4-7. 4.30) goes for the Twins.

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-7, 4.13) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Happ allowed a season-high seven earned runs in his previous outing, a July 23 loss at Cleveland. RHP Parker Bridwell (4-1, 3.09) starts for the Angels.

There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth

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USATI

There was so much more to Bill King’s life beyond the broadcast booth

When the Hall of Fame presents Bill King with the Ford C. Frick award Saturday, it will be big not only for the multitude of fans that listened to him but the colleagues who worked alongside the legendary A's broadcaster.

“I think he was the very best radio sports broadcaster we’ve ever had in this country,” NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa said. “He’s just a radio genius. To me, he epitomized the Bay Area as a sportscaster because he was the Bay Area. His word choice, his vocabulary, the way he was able to describe things. In so many ways he was the perfect Bay Area radio broadcaster.”

King was the rare breed of broadcaster, someone versatile enough and knowledgable enough to excel at announcing three major sports — football with the Raiders from 1966-92, basketball with the Warriors from 1962-83 and baseball with the A’s from 1981 until his death in 2005.

It was baseball that was nearest to his heart. And while his expertise at describing a ballgame was unparalleled, there was so much more to King’s life beyond the broadcast booth. That’s something current A’s radio play-by-play man Ken Korach discovered in the decade he worked alongside King after joining the A’s in 1995.

Korach, who chronicled King’s career in the 2013 book “Holy Toledo: Lessons from Bill King, Renaissance Man of the Mic”, found himself visiting art museums with King during A’s road trips.

“He was a patron of the arts and the ballet, the opera,” Korach said. “One thing that people may not know is that he was a wonderful impressionist painter. He painted landscapes that were absolutely beautiful, breaththaking.”

Korach has one of King’s paintings hanging in his den.

Like King, Papa also announced three different sports at the same time for a period — football with the Raiders, basketball with the San Antonio Spurs and baseball with the A’s. When he joined the A’s television booth in 1990, King was a crucial resource for him.

“When I began doing A’s TV in 1990, I would listen to Bill and have a legal pad out and take notes,” said Papa, who still calls Raider games. “It was better than any research I could do. He was so meticulously prepared.”

Korach chuckled when recalling King’s idiosyncrasies in the booth, such as insisting the window always remain open regardless of the elements.

“Even if it was December in Cleveland, and it was a Raider game and snowing and 5 degrees, the window would stay open,” Korach said. “He was real meticulous with the way he would set up the table when broadcasting the game, all of the notes in a certain place. And the wind would just wreak havoc. There was one game when literally I was on the air and he just took all of his stuff and slammed it on the ground, he was so upset and frustrated.”

For many years King was bypassed for Cooperstown, his excellence in three sports probably robbing him of being appreciated in one specific sport. On Saturday, he gets the ultimate tribute in being inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Korach and his wife, Denise, will be on hand for the ceremony.

“The most important thing,” Korach said, “is what it means to A’s fans, and fans in the Bay Area in general.”